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When car trouble forces private detective John Bryant to spend the night in the small village of Foxall, he is immediately struck by the antagonism and secrecy of the locals. Why was there so much hostility and fear? And why were the streets deserted after dark?

Next morning the murdered body of Andrew Woodside is discovered on a nearby hill, beginning an investigation that takes Bryant to the dingy industrial town of Castington, where an atmosphere of jealousy, suspicion and intrigue prevails . . .